The Senate, in an extra-ordinary session yesterday, approved candidates nominated on Wednesday by President Paul Kagame for top posts within the Judiciary, including the Prosecutor General and High Court president.
Richard Muhumuza and Agnes Mukagashugi were approved for the posts of prosecutor general and deputy prosecutor general, respectively.
Muhumuza replaces Martin Ngoga while Mukagashugi replaces Alphonse Hitiyaremye.
Muhumuza and Mukagashugi have vast experience in prosecution and were both serving as national prosecutors prior to their new appointments.
Both the prosecutor general and the deputy have a term of five years renewable once.
The candidates were vetted by the Senatorial Standing Committee of Political Affairs and Good Governance chaired by Apollinaire Mushinzimana.
Hitiyaremye was fronted to become a judge in the Supreme Court but the Senate did not approve him since he is out of the country.
Also approved was former spokesperson of the Judiciary Charles Kaliwabo, who becomes the president of the High Court.
Emmanuel Kamere and Fanfan Rwanyindo Kayirangwa also got a senatorial nod as president and vice president of the Commercial High Court respectively.
Kamere was the vice president of the Commercial High Court while Kayirangwa is one of the long serving judges in the same court.
Kamere takes over from Benoït Gakwaya Gatete who was approved as a Supreme Court judge.
Also approved as judge of the Supreme Court is Justin Gakwaya who was the president of the High Court chamber of Rwamagana.
Duringthe Senate hearing, Senator Gallican Niyongana asked if elevating prosecutors to the level of judges in a higher court couldn’t create a conflict of interest.
However, the chairperson of the vetting committee Mushinzimana, said, “Professionally, a judge cannot be assigned to a case he has ever worked on or has interest in, which is why we are sure there wouldn’t be such a scenario.”
Senate president Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo explained that the executive had expressed urgency in having the candidates approved which necessitated convening the session.